Communications – Part 3: Email

At this very moment my inbox is at zero. This is quite a feat for me. Please understand that I am writing this as a technology addict. Email may not be a big challenge for you but my life seems to be consumed by it. My professional and social word are highly integrated with the internet and almost every resource sends loads of emails. Not to mention newsletters, email lists, spam, and people I actually might want to get email from. There is also the little known fact that I monitor 5 email accounts.

Much like my phone I’m anxious about missing something important. All my email goes directly to my phone so it’s with me everywhere. I have this compulsion to check it often and each of those times I have to weed through the garbage to see if anything important arrived. Rarely something urgent finds it’s way into my inbox but who would know with all the junk.

Here is my solution to avoid email insanity.

  • I created folders and starting two days ago began creating filters to relocate messages from my inbox to the appropriate folder.
    • Email Subscriptions – These are all the junk messages that tend to clog my inbox. The goal is to go through that folder and start unsubscribing to all the crap.
    • Blog Comments – I maintain 4 different blogs and all of their comments are filtered here.
    • Social Stuff – All of the emails that pertain to any of my dozens of social media interaction go here.
    • Misc – I actually have several other specialized folders for various other emails.
  • I only get nudged when a message makes it to my inbox. With all of the filters these messages are few which means I’m not running to my email nearly as often.
  • I still only respond to those inbox emails immediately if they are truly urgent.
  • I check and respond to non urgent email twice a day. Mid morning and late evening before bed.

This is a very hard process for me and it’s going to take time to make these practices a habit. What about you? Is email getting the best of you? How do you cope?